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The Gift of Compassion
Christmas Comes Early for Jail Inmates
An Appreciation for the Passionate
Thinking About Christmas as Spring has Sprung

Thinking about Christmas as Spring has Sprung
By Mark Miller

My new friend Lemuel stopped in this week. He wanted to see if he could get a little something in the paper about his program, his mission.

It’s awfully hard to not like someone who is so humbly enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated to what they firmly believe in.

I first heard about Lemuel from my wife who met him while working in Dr. Van Winkle’s office. Lemuel would come in often to have his eyeglasses adjusted. He would often mention his program of Christian outreach to area prisons. My wife was impressed with his sincerity, demeanor and enthusiasm.

“He always has something nice to say about someone,” she often remarked.

This was a “lead” to a couple of nice feature stories we did last year on Lemuel Vega’s “Christmas Behind Bars” for which he works nearly full time for no pay, subsidizing it with his own labors. Although I didn’t write either story we printed last year, I did get to meet him and hear his full story of getting in trouble as a youth; a story of bad choices, prison time and the people who reached out to him.

He’s simply returning the favor. “Passing it on” as the saying goes. His cornerstone is Matt. 25:36. “…I was in prison and ye came to me.”

There are many charitable and Christ-centered programs that deserve our support. If Lemuel’s efforts appeal to you, you probably already support your church. You were likely partly responsible for the United Way’s success in meeting their goal to support over 40 local programs.

Or maybe not. Perhaps you know someone in prison that could, at the very least, use some encouragement.

It’s not just at Christmas time that “Christmas Behind Bars” operates. Their efforts continue at various times throughout the year. There are two major prison visits scheduled for May.

It may not be a good time to be out seeking volunteers and assistance, these days following April 15, but Lemuel is appreciative of any help he can get … stuffing bags, making phone calls, making visits, and of course, donations in all sizes and shapes. (Each inmate gets a small bag of “Christmas gifts” which are also often donated.)

Want to know more? Want to help? Call Lemuel at 824-3182. He’ll send you a DVD free with no strings attached so you can see what they’re doing. You could drop a small check in the mail to 811 Kimberly St, Bluffton.

Even if it’s just a word of encouragement, you’ll have a new friend. I always enjoy his visits and I always appreciate his parting words:

“God bless you.”


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